A Letter to Seattle Council on Oil Trains

A Seattle Climate Activist, Linda M attended the City Hall rally and sent the following email to Seattle City Council Members regarding the need to immediately stop oil trains coming through Seattle before an explosion or derailment causes a disaster, not after delays to “study” the situation.

Her well written letter and list of emails for the city council may be of help to others who wish to state their position on this to the Council, before it is too late.   This Sightline article shows railroads in “2013 moved 11 times more crude oil than all the oil moved by train from 2005 to 2009…” or “57 times more oil annually….”

Following is Linda’s article including the email addresses for all the Council Members

To: sally.bagshaw@seattle.govtim.burgess@seattle.govsally.clark@seattle.gov;jean.godden@seattle.govbruce.harrell@seattle.govnick.licata@seattle.gov;mike.obrien@seattle.govtom.rasmussen@seattle.govkshama.sawant@seattle.gov
Subject: Petroleum transport by rail through Seattle (Resolution 31504)

Dear Council Members,

I am responding to your Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee meeting on February 21, 2014 regarding petroleum transport by rail through Seattle (Resolution 31504). I urge all of you to not take the time to do a study but to stop immediately all Bakken crude oil and coal trains going through the downtown Seattle train tunnel.

As you already know Bakken crude oil is highly explosive, but to add to the problem with transporting it through the downtown Seattle train tunnel is the coal dust that has built up from uncovered coal trains that have been also going through the train tunnel. Coal dust is highly explosive in enclosed and unventilated areas. It would just take a spark to set off the coal dust.

Any explosion in that tunnel would be catastrophic. That is a very old tunnel – more than a century old. I am most sure it is not strong enough to handle an explosion that would equal what we have seen in Quebec and North Dakota. If there is an explosion – infrastructure and buildings would be damaged or completely destroyed and lives would be lost – possibly thousands. We also have to consider that the transit tunnel is only 4 feet below the train tunnel at a point in the downtown area.

Again – I urge you to just stop those trains. Doing a study would be a waste of time and a waste of taxpayers’ money. Downtown Seattle is the most densely populated area those trains (both coal and Bakken crude oil) go through on their route. The City of Seattle government has been gambling with people’s lives and livelihood far too long by continuing to allow these dangerous trains through and under our lovely city. We gain nothing by allowing them through our city, but we have much too much to lose.

Links regarding explosive bakken crude oil and coal dust:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-02/bakken-crude-more-dangerous-to-ship-than-other-oil-u-s-.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dust_explosion

A great letter to inspire others to the City Council to stop investigating oil train impacts and just ban them entirely!  Thanks!

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